Christine couldn't cope with her brother's death after he drowned in a lake. She became traumatized by big bodies of water and couldn't get herself to go near them. One day, she decided to go, and was surprised to see her brother's dog running from the forest.
Christine loved her brother Patrick dearly. They were best friends and did everything together through the years, even when they got older. Unfortunately, he died while swimming in a lake two years ago, after a rogue wave hit him and he couldn't recover.
After her brother's death, Christine could barely cope. She could not bring herself near large bodies of water, as she would remember her brother, and it would cause her to cry and experience panic attacks.
This time, on the 2nd anniversary of Patrick's death, she decided to face her fears and visit the lake where he died. She sat by the lake, crying, reminiscing about the times she had with her older brother, who passed away when he was only 32 years old.
Christine couldn't believe her eyes when she saw Max running towards her. | Source: Pexels
Like typical brothers and sisters, they started out as enemies, always quarreling with one another as children. They would fight and bicker about one another to their parents.
"Mom, Patrick is hogging the TV again! I don't want to watch basketball anymore!" Christine recalled herself saying every single afternoon after they got home from school.
In return, Patrick would often tease his sister of always finishing the ice cream inside the fridge. "Stop eating all the ice cream! Look at you. You're starting to look like an ice cream pint!" he would say to her.
Once they got over their differences, they realized they were actually each other's best friends. They would run to one another's rooms and sit together whenever their parents fought, lean on each other every time one experienced heartbreak, and have each other's backs when one snuck out of the house.
Christine and Patrick were inseparable growing up, even though they'd always quarrel with one another. | Source: Pexels
"I'll always have your back, sis," Patrick would tell her as she cried on his shoulder. "You'll always have me."
It was true. Christine always had Patrick, as he lived a single life. He had no wife nor girlfriend and only kept the company of a faithful dog named Max. They spent all of their time together until Patrick's death.
Christine's thoughts began to wander until she remembered Max. They had not seen him since that sad day, as they were too preoccupied mourning Patrick's death.
As Christine couldn't get herself to go near the lake after Patrick's death, no one else could help try and bring Max back. Patrick and Christine's parents were too old to do so. Instead, they wished Max well, hoping that someone kind had rescued him and taken him in.
Christine mourned the loss of her brother for years. | Source: Pexels
After sitting in silence for a couple of minutes, she suddenly heard a dog barking in the woods. The sound was getting nearer, and she was so surprised to see that it was Max running toward her.
"Max?" she said in disbelief. "Max, is it really you?" she said as he ran closer.
When she realized it really was Max, he had already jumped on top of her, wagging his tail as he licked her face. "Where have you been, sweet boy?" she asked as the dog embraced her. The dog was so happy, and his tail was wagging quickly as he playfully caressed Christine.
"You've missed me too, huh? I've missed you!" Christine said, returning Max's embrace. "Have you been in the woods these past two years?"
At that moment, she heard a man shouting frantically from the woods. "Max! Where did you go? Come back, Max!"
A man called out for Max from the woods. | Source: Pexels
Christine realized that Max was still wearing the beautifully carved dog tag that Patrick had made for him. After hearing someone call out for Max, she was relieved to know that someone had been looking after him.
"You found yourself a new best buddy, huh?" Christine said. "That's good. Patrick wouldn't have wanted you to live alone in the woods. I'm glad you're okay," she said, petting his fur.
A stranger came out of the woods and saw Max with Christine. He ran towards them and apologized. "I'm sorry, is he bothering you?" he asked her.
Christine shook her head. "Not at all. I've missed this little fella," she said, smiling. "I'm Christine. My late brother Patrick used to own Max. He loved him dearly," she explained.
The man was surprised to hear about Patrick and decided to introduce himself as well. "I'm George. I'm sorry, I didn't know that Max had a family. He wandered in the woods for days, and when I realized no one was coming to pick him up, I took him in," he explained.
George introduced himself to Christine after emerging from the woods. | Source: Pexels
"Even after I took him in, we'd walk near the lake every day just in case someone came to pick him up, but no one ever did. I hope you don't mind that I adopted him," George said, feeling apologetic.
Christine shook her head. "Don't worry, I'm grateful that Max was under your care all these years! Thank you for loving him," she said, observing how Max was around George.
It was clear to her that Patrick's beloved dog had grown attached to its new owner. A couple of minutes after running around, George started to dig the ground. "What is he doing?" Christine asked curiously.
"He loves that spot. He keeps something hidden there and checks on it every once in a while," George replied.
At that moment, Max didn't just check on the item. Instead, he took it out and laid it on the ground in front of Christine. "Oh, Max," she said, tears forming in her eyes yet again.
"This is my brother's watch. Our father gave this to him when he was 16. It was my grandfather's watch. I can't believe it, Max. You found it and hid it to give to me?" she said, sobbing.
Max gave Christine the watch that Patrick used to wear everyday, leaving her with tears in her eyes. | Source: Pexels
"No wonder. Max would always run out to the lake every day. I guess he was waiting for you. He had been waiting for this day to come for the past two years. No wonder he kept barking as he ran towards the lake today," George said.
Max continued to wag his tail and circle close to Christine. She hugged him and petted him as he licked her face. "Thank you, Max. I know you miss Patrick. I miss him dearly, too," she cried.
After a while, George sadly asked Christine if she wanted to take Max back home. She thought about it for a second before shaking her head.
"I can see how attached Max has become to you. I don't want to take that special bond away. Please, continue to take care of him," Christine requested.
"Of course. Thank you for entrusting him to me. I won't let you nor Patrick down," George smiled gratefully.
Christine nodded, preparing herself to get going. However, George stopped her. "Would you like to visit my house for a sandwich and a cup of tea? I insist; it's very close by," he told her.
George promised to take good care of Max. | Source: Pexels
"Sure, why not. Thank you," she replied, walking towards the woods with Max and George. He explained that he lived very close to the forest on his late father's farm.
"I promised I'd take care of the farm, so I currently work as a farmer. I harvest crops and sell them at the local farmer's market every weekend."
"That's awesome. I hope you don't mind me asking. Would it be alright if I came by from time to time so I could visit Max? I just feel like I owe it to my brother to make sure Max is always alright," Christine asked.
"Of course! I wouldn't mind that at all. I could use a bit of company." He smiled.
George invited Christine over for some tea. | Source: Pexels
One day, Christine and George decided to take Max to Patrick's grave after she visited the farm in the morning. As Max approached, it was as if it wasn't the first time he was visiting Patrick. He ran towards the grave and lay there for several hours, just observing his surroundings.
The entire scene touched Christine to the core. "Their bond was out of this world," she cried. "So beautiful to see their bond last even after death. How Max feels him...." she said, her thoughts trailing at the sight of Max just laying there.
George comforted Christine that day, putting an arm over her shoulder. The gesture was simple, but it sent shivers down their spines.
Unable to deny the spark between them, they started dating the next time Christine visited George's farm. He let her know of his intentions, and Christine admitted she felt the same way.
Christine couldn't help but cry after seeing Max's loyalty to Patrick. | Source: Pexels
Since then, they got to know one another better through meaningful conversations over coffee and delicious home-cooked meals. Christine also started to accompany George to sell in the farmer's market every weekend, where she saw the potential in his business.
After a couple of months, with George's consent, Christine decided to quit her corporate job to start a business. She saw the potential in George's farm business, so she put up an e-commerce platform for his farm goods. He couldn't be more grateful for it and asked Christine to be his business partner.
Their relationship was simple, easy, and full of love and happiness. They decided to move in together on the farm, where they took care of Max as a couple and ran and grew the farm business together.
Christine started working at the farm with George. | Source: Pexels
George's farm became the town's favorite place to buy the freshest produce in no time. They not only wiped out his products every weekend at the farmer's market, but they'd use Christine's online platform to order on weekdays as well.
Thanks to Christine's website, customers from nearby cities and even states could order from George. With added visibility and more capital to work with, the happy couple expanded their product line, producing more than just fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms.
Their farm started producing healthy snacks, juices, jams, and other crowd-favorite items that were always in demand. Through their hard work and determination, they were able to save up a lot of money and could afford to go on nature trips with Max in tow.
And in just a couple of months, George had enough money to buy Christine a gorgeous engagement ring. He proposed during one of their intimate dinner dates at home and got married in a simple church ceremony.
As they headed home to the farm that day, George decided to speak to Patrick. He looked up at the sky and said:
"Don't worry, Patrick. I can take it from here. I promise to love, cherish, and care for your sister. I'll always have her back like you did. Rest easy now."
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